Gateshead are coming towards the end of a campaign that, for so long, promised so much but was in the end undermined by off-field problems.

For most of the season, the Heed had been challenging for a play-off place in the National League, despite the fact that their players have often not been paid on time.

They also had the disruption of having to remove their belongings from the International Stadium the day before their match at Braintree Town last month, due to outstanding debts owed to Gateshead Council.

The following week, the squad put out a statement that aired their grievances over the way the club was being run under owner Ranjan Varghese and his chief financial advisor Joseph Cala.

With their players understandably demotivated, Gateshead’s promotion push eventually came off the rails as a six-game winless run, in which they lost five, saw them fall off the pace.

Ahead of their final game of the season, against Barrow AFC, the situation isn’t looking much clearer, with Varghese, who only took over himself last summer, still looking to sell for just £1.

However, a solution my finally be on the horizon, with former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy insisting last week that a long-running takeover process remains on track and will conclude eventually.

So, back to matters on the pitch, and the Heed go into the game ninth in the table – still an admirable position with such a thin squad at their disposal.

Looking ahead to his side’s clash with the Bluebirds, manager Ben Clark, who took charge after Steve Watson left for York City in January, told the club’s website: “We’ve still got something to play for. We can still finish eighth, which will be the best of the rest if you like.

“It’s probably come at the right time now because I think the lads are feeling it a little bit, but they’ve been different class all season and we’re going to go out and enjoy it against a really good team in Barrow.”